Back when Bimmer was only 5 weeks old, she went on her first trip. We went to Florida to visit my mom (HERE) and since then has been a trooper through a few trips to the Fort and more local SC/NC day trips. However, my travel bug was itching and needed scratching, so we hit the road to Gatlinburg, TN. I chose the destination for a few reasons.... (1) It's not ridiculously far away, (2) It's family friendly, and (3) I have good memories of visiting there as a child, so it felt somewhat nostalgic.
Of course, Bimmer was a rock star when it came to traveling in the car. The first day, we had lunch at the Old Mill Pottery House in Pigeon Forge, and then hit up some cheesy shops. I was seriously disappointed in The Christmas Place this time. I actually walked out empty handed!!! Shocker, I know!
Downtown Gatlinburg is a mecca of class (ha ha ha) so we strolled the shops that night and had dinner at Cherokee Grill.
Yes, we were those people who took our baby to a somewhat decent establishment and then proceeded to grind French fries into the carpet. You're welcome.
Saturday morning, we headed up the mountain to visit Cade's Cove. I don't think Puff nor I realized that it was an hour's drive just to get there. Factor in the end of spring break crowds (which never dawned on me when I picked the dates for this trip) and the whole shebang took over 4 hours! Again, Bimmer was a champ in the car, but was super happy to get out and check out some of the sites at a few stops.
The best part was getting behind a family who thought it was OK to let their tween sit in the back of the station wagon with her feet dangling 2 inches above the pavement. Barefoot. I made Puff pull over after awhile so we wouldn't be right behind them. It scared me to death!!!
On Sunday morning, we were happy that Bimmer didn't let us sleep in too late (she got up at 7:30am, which is typical) so we could get ready and head to the Ripley's Aquarium.
I had been worried about the crowds (since everyplace else was ridiculous) but we were there about 15 minutes after they opened and felt like we had the place to ourselves! Bimmer loved the big tanks where she could see the big fish. She sat open-jawed in the tunnel with the sharks swimming overhead. The only part that scared her was a dinosaur display with a T-Rex... which she actually liked at first!
All told, it was a nice getaway. We didn't blow the budget, had some quality family time away from home, and got our fill of cheesy tourist locales for at least the next 5 years. It was definitely a humble reminder of why we usually opt for places a little more off the grid.
So... do you think Bimmer is too young for the prison rodeo? :)